Are you a little unimpressed by the videos of Nintendo 64 games remade in Unreal Engine? Do you think that their sights should be set a little higher? Maybe you'll finally be happy now that the BBC has just revealed that not only is their gorgeous Tokyo-based studio, which they're using for their Olympics coverage, is not actually in Tokyo — it was entirely made in Epic Games' Unreal Engine.
The two presenters, Dan Walker and Sam Quek, recently hosted a behind-the-scenes tour of their elaborate lie of a studio. It turns out that, because of the pandemic, the BBC didn't actually send their talent off to Tokyo, preferring to instead keep them in the Salford office and make a lovely and totally fake Japanese city background on top of a green screen.
Admittedly, it's very impressive. As long as Walker and Quek don't move around too much — because they'll clip into stuff — or wear green and white clothing, the illusion is complete, looking like they're sitting in a very swanky office with a glass floor, balanced precariously above a sandy zen garden. They can even change the time of day!
Walker introduces the idea of the studio being made in Unreal Engine by saying: "Now, if you're a gamer, you might think it looks a little familiar," which had us scratching our heads a little bit. Although Unreal Engine remakes of old games are often recognisable by their weirdly realistic lighting on cartoonish characters, we can't say that the Tokyo background reminds us of anything.
Banana man aside, it is very impressive, with real-time rendering allowing moving cameras and on-the-fly adjusted perspective, as well as virtual masking which is able to hide the crew.
We just hope that we're going to get a fort-building competition in the next Olympics. Or, at the very least, a cameo from Ariana Grande.